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Papuans at Risk. Some personal observations


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Some personal remarks with regard to threats to the Papuan indigenous population of West Papua since 1962 Indoensia.

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Papuans at Risk. Some personal observations

  1. 1. Papuans at Risk. Some Personal ObservationsAt Ipenburg1(27-1-2003)IntroductionOn 15 August 1962 the governments of the Netherlands, the USA and Indonesia agreedto hand over Dutch New Guinea to Indonesia, after a short interregnum of the UnitedNations. This was decided in New York without any consultation of the Papuans. On 1October 1962 the Indonesian Army entered New Guinea. Almost immediately the armybegan to secure Indonesian occupation by intimidating, arresting and killing, extrajudicially, opponents or perceived opponents of Indonesian rule. The army had alreadysince the late 1940s experience with putting down rebellions in West-Java, Sumatra, theMinahasa (Pemesta Rising), South Sulawesi (Islamic Republic of Makassar) and in theMoluccas (Republik Maluku Selatan). Some of these movements had considerable localsupport and legitimacy. The USA gave at times some support to these movements aspart of its anti-communist crusade. West Papua is different. West Papua had, unlike theother areas, apart from East Timor, an internationally recognized status as an areaseparate from the Indonesian Republic from 1950 till 1962. The role and position of thearmy is also different in West Papua, compared to other provinces, again apart from EastTimor. The army has kept the special position it had at the beginning of the occupation in1962. Army officers serve as governors, regents and heads of district. In this civiliancapacity they remain under army discipline. The official double function (dwifungsi), themilitary and the political role,wais part of the New Order system of government and thislegitimates the supremacy of the army. The army still is the real power in West Papua. Ithas extensive business interests. West Papua is also important for the army to get warexperience, essential for fast promotions. The police did not have an independent role,but operated as a wing of the army in the New Order.It is very difficult to get reliable information about what is really going on in West Papuaas there are still restrictions on journalists and researchers doing research on “sensitive”topics like human rights. Foreign journalists would rarely get the special permit needed toenter West Papua. All foreigners still need a special police permit (Asurat jalan@ ) to visitplaces outside the cities. They have then to report to police and army posts. Some areaslike Paniai and the Star Mountains were completely out of bounds for foreigners.Expatriates working in West Papua are dependent on work permits which are only issuedafter screening by the military intelligence. In the Soeharto era the mass media werecontrolled and there is no tradition of investigative journalism. Large national papers, likeKompas and Suara Pembaruan only report on West Papua when there are seriousincidents. The area, generally speaking, is underreported in the general press and alsoby the official press agency Antara of which foreign press and foreign news agencies arelargely dependent.Only after Soeharto handed over his presidency to Habibie, with the introduction of“reformation” (reformasi) violations of human rights could be discussed I n the open..Thisalso enabled the establishment in West Papua of two quite effective organisationsmonitoring human rights violations: Elsham Papua and the Justice and Peace Secretariatof the Jayapura Diocese2have been established.1At Ipenburg taught anthropology and sociology at the Theological College Izaak Samuel Kijne in Jayapura, West Papua from1995 till 2002. He is at present engaged in the writing of a history of the Church in West-Papua from an anthropologicalperspective.2E.g. the reports by the Justice and Peace Secretariat and Elsham Papua.1
  2. 2. Five casesWe lived in West Papua from the end of 1995 till April 2002. The political tension was astriking phenomenon all the time we lived there. Several of our Papuan friends andcolleagues felt threatened. There was until 1998 only one daily, the Cenderawasih Pos,with biased information. In May 1998 there came more openness and there was less fearfor police informers. We witnessed a high mortality among Papuans. Causes wereamong others: medical neglect, political violence, (methyl) alcohol, crime, domesticviolence and traffic accidents. If the death was because of violence by the police or thearmy in no case perpetrators were brought to court and sentenced... Often it was theother way around and the police started to interrogate and detain people, charged withdefamation, who criticized publicly the violence used by members of the securityapparatus. I discuss here five cases.(a) On 4 July 1998 a student of Uncen, Steven Suripatty, was killed by army personnelduring a Afree speech@ demonstration (mimbar bebas) on the campus of the university.The army refused to start an investigation. Also an innocent bystander, the daughter of alecturer of our Theological College, was wounded in her knee by a gun shot. The armyrefused to give any compensation for the costs of the operations she needed to have inJakarta. The army shopt the student in revenge for the manhandling by students of apolice informer who had entered the campus with a loaded revolver, claiming that he wasa student. The army refused to investigate the case and bring the perpetrators to bookas long as the students refused to hand over those involved in the manhandling of thepolice informer.(b) A lecturer of the Theological College Fajar Timur, Obeth Badii, a Me from Paniai, waskilled in suspicious circumstances, also in 1998. He was well educated and had studiedin the USA, where he had received a Masters degree. There was no autopsy done andno police investigation initiated to find the perpetrators, notwithstanding the public outcrybecause of his death. His students of the Roman Catholic Theological College FajarTimur launched a demonstration to demand justice. It is possible that the attack wastargeted at the Kompas journalist Octavianus Mote, whose house was next to Obeth= shouse in Waena. Obeth had already warned Octo that unknown persons had been seenmoving in the neighbourhood of his house. Octovianus, like Obeth, is from Paniai andthere is a similarity in appearance.They said that there were three witnesses. One was killed in a road accident; the secondone was hit by a car that was driving at full speed without lamps and without a numberplate. The car stopped and loaded the victim in the boot of the car. The third one wentinto hiding.(c) On 7 December 2000 police raided in the middle of the night all the dormitories of thehigh school and college students from the interior. These students are considered moreradical than the students from the coast. There may also have been the intention tocreate a division in the front against Indonesia. The reason for the police action was themurder of a Papua policeman in Abepura and a watchman at the building of theprovincial government for local autonomy. This was generally seen as a reason createdby the security apparatus. About 100 students were rounded up, many of them stillminors. Most of them were released the next day. The girls who were arrested expressedgratitude that they had not been raped by the police! The director of a mission hospitalwhere many of the victims of the police action were treated expressed his horror at thetype of wounds the students had. Large open wounds meant to hurt. People were loadedon a lorry with complete disregard of their health and well-being. There were lots ofbroken shoulders and limbs. The director had made medical reports of the wounds of the2
  3. 3. victims though the police had forbidden the hospital to do this. Part of this police actionwas witnessed by Oswald Iten, a journalist of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, who wasdetained at the police office of the Jayapura Regency (Polres) in Jayapura charged witha violation of the Immigration Law. He watched, in horror, from his crowded prison cellhow two students, Joni Karunggu and Orry Doronggi, were being beaten to death by agroup of police.(d) In February 2002 in broad daylight two police officers shot and killed a 33 year oldPapuan minister, Rev. Robert Ongge, in the house of his Chinese in-law in Abepura nearthe market. The minister was supposed to have demanded money from his in-law andthe in-law had asked help from the police for his protection, according to the papers. Itwas not clear why the police had to resort to shooting the minister. The CenderawasihPos had a picture of the dead body of the minister on the front page, in full colour. The(Papuan) public protest against this killing was immediately and extensive. The marketwas closed. The people of his home village, Kampung Harapan barricaded the road fromJayapura to Sentani. This is the only road to the airport from Jayapura. The protest tooka whole day and was ended by the Mobile Brigade. The case was never cleared. Thecommander of police admitted that the two police officers had acted rashly, due to theiryoung age and lack of experience. No action was taken against them. TheCenderawasih Pos tried to investigate the matter by interviewing the parents and friendsof the victim, but nothing new came out of it. The victim was not known to be politicallyactive. He had just returned to his home village with his Chinese wife and two youngchildren after a long stay as a minister in Jakarta. He had just started a church choir inKampung Harapan.(e) A young man, Johan, who had just graduated from Uncen, was killed in Jayapura,when in the evening together with his fiancée; he was preparing a church building for acelebration. He was killed by four men with an army dagger in front of the eyes of hisfiancée. The dagger got stuck in the body and could be retrieved as evidence. This typeof dagger is exclusively in use by soldiers. It seemed that the perpetrators thought thathe was of the police. The soldiers wanted to take revenge as just before a soldier hadbeen killed by police at a quarrel at Jayapura harbour when the passenger vessel fromJakarta had docked there. The commander of the police asked the commander of thearmy if any dagger was missing. The army commander declared after asking his officersthat no army dagger was missing. There the investigation ended. Students of Uncenwere angry with the unwillingness of the police to investigate the murder and to bring theperpetrators to court. They staged a demonstration blocking the road between Jayapuraand Waena. The Mobile Brigade of the police opened the road by force.In none of these cases the victims were known as political activists. Police always tried tocover up the case and to protect the perpetrators. The human rights organisation of thegovernment, KPP HAM, investigated the Abepura case. The police spokesman reactedby stating that this organisation was biased and provocative.. The police threatenedElsham, which also made a report on the case, with legal action.There are quite a few cases where there were fatal casualties in confrontations betweendemonstrators and the police or the army. This took place in July 1998 in Biak and in2000 in Nabire, Sorong, Timika and Manokwari. A very serious incident took place inOctober 2000 in Wamena, with 122 victims. The bloody incidents in 2000 had all to dowith the unwillingness of Papuan to lower their Morning star flag, which has religious andcultural significance. Though allowed by President Wahid in December 1999 the armyand police continued to see the raising of the flag, in defiance with the decision of theHead of State as separatism, which is high treason which carries the death penalty. In3
  4. 4. the new Special Autonomy Law for the Province, effective from January 2002, theprovince is allowed to have its own flag. The army in West Papua reacted immediatelythat it would not allow any other flag next to the Red-White Flag (Merah-Putih) of theIndonesian Republic in defiance to the new law!There is also a number of Papuans murdered by civilians. In the period we lived inSentani we found that almost every year a Papuan was killed in the market (pasar) ofSentani often by Buginese to defend their monopoly in trading. We did not hear aboutperpetrators being brought to court and sentenced. However, when three Papuans, inrevenge, killed a Buginese motor taxi driver at Jalan Pos Tujuh in Sentani all three werevery soon arrested and sentenced to imprisonment. In August 2000 Papuans burned thebazaar of Sentani because the Buginese community failed to hand over a Bugineseaccused of killing a Papuan in a drunken brawl in a brothel. Police again failed toapprehend the perpetrator.The ContextThere is a climate conducive for serious human rights violations. Such violations seem tothe population at large as unavoidable as natural disasters. Perpetrators enjoy impunity.The judicial system is inefficient and corruption is rife. There is hardly a free press with atradition of investigative journalism which could take up the issue. Only in the last fewyears some weeklies have emerged aiming at more critical reporting, like Jubi and TifaPapua. Most NGOs are weak and under control of the government or the army. Thesituation could be worse than in East Timor or Aceh as potential victims are more easilyidentifiable because of their Melanesian appearance (curly hair, dark skin). Racialismadds to the problem. Javanese Muslims look down on Christian Papuans, with curly hair,who eat pork and drink alcohol. Papuans are seen as naked, primitive, drunkards, hardlyhuman compared to the Javanese who are heirs of the great Majapahit Empire.Education at every level is of a low quality, dedicated to learning by heart andsubmission to authority and the absence of fluency of English which would enablePapuans to communicate human rights violations to the outside world. There are noforeign correspondents in the province, except for one from the Sydney Morning Herald.For news the foreign press is dependent on local correspondents or on the official newsagencies, like Antara, which echoes the views of the police and the army.Z. Sawor was one of the leading Papuans, who had a Dutch education and aconsiderable responsibility at the advent of Indonesian rule. He describes in a smallbooklet in Dutch the process of Indonesianisation. Many people of the stature of Sawor,including Sawor himself became victim of the suspicions of the Indonesians. TheIndonesian army behaved more as an army of occupation than as an army that hadliberated the Papuans from an oppressive colonial power. The army claimed the land, itspeople and their belongings by right of conquest. It tried to wipe out completely anytraces of Dutch presence in government and education. All schools and individuals hadto destroy their textbooks in Dutch. From one day to the other teaching and examinationshad to change from Dutch to Malay (Bahasa Indonesia). Teachers and civil servants hadto do military type exercises on Saturday morning at the office of the Governor. Alltextbooks of the Dutch period were replaced by those used in the rest of Indonesia,though the contents were less appropriate to the culture and natural environment of NewGuinea. Educated Papuans in church, education, trade and the civil service, who werefluent in Dutch, were suspected of being pro-Dutch and, by implication, anti-Indonesian.These were Aenemies.@Zawor (1969: 34) describes how there was already as early as December 1962 a nightlyattack on the dormitories of the Teacher Training College, the Civil Servants school4
  5. 5. (ABestuursschool@ ), the Agricultural College and the Christian schools in Kota Raja inJayapura by Indonesian soldiers, using pro-Indonesian groups. Students were beaten upand then transported to the military camp at Ifar Gunung, where they were imprisoned. Aconsiderable group of leading Papuans ended up in prison or were killed in this earlyperiod. Among them were Eliezer Jan Bonay, the first governor, Rev. G. A. Lanta, theformer vice-chairman of the Synod of the GKI, Rev. Silas Chaay, secretary of the GKI,Rev. Osok of the Moi tribe of the Bird’s Head, Saul Hindom, who had studied in Utrechtand was the leader of Shell in Biak, Hank Yoka, the former secretary of the New GuineaCouncil, Alfeus Yoku, a leader from Sentani and David Hanasbey, inspector of police inJayapura. Johan Ariks, former chairman of the Papua delegation at the Round TableConference in 1949, where he pleaded for independence for the Papuans, separatefrom Indonesia, died, at the age of 70, in Manokwari prison, after a speech he held on 1July 1965, which was considered to be anti-Indonesian. Permenas Yoku, a teacher inSentani, was killed at the end of 1963, because he refused to sign a pro-Indonesiandeclaration3Even the pro-Indonesian Frits Kirihio from Serui, who had joined Soebandrioto New York, ended up in prison in the late 1960s. It was, according to Zawor, a policy ofthe intelligence department to eliminate in a secret way anybody suspected of havinglinks with people who wanted to overthrow the Indonesian Government.4It seems that this policy has set a pattern, not only in West Papua, but also in otherareas where the army got a free hand, like in North Kalimantan, East Timor and Aceh.Public statements of police and army up to the highest level are symptomatic for theattitude of the security apparatus towards the Papuans. In October 2000 in Wamena thepolice acted with excessive violence to bring down the Morning Star flag, symbol of theaspirations of the Papuans. When the Papuans retaliated with violence the nationalHead of Police (Kapolri) declared that Papuans are animals who kill, burn and rapewomen and children. In November of that year the provincial head of police at a meetingwith NGOs declared publicly that Papuans are criminals.Strategies of the army and policeThere seems to be a strategy of the security apparatus (army, police, special troops,intelligence) behind the serious human rights violations, including extra judicial killings. Amajor purpose is to create a climate of fear to intimidate people and to prevent any formof opposition to Indonesian rule. So extra judicial killings of Papuan leaders could also beseen as a preventive, not only a punitive action. The army also tries to provoke conflicts.This enables it to come into action and to get a legitimisation of the use of violence inorder to restore Alaw and order.@3Z. Sawor, 1969: 40-45, quoting a Report by Silas Papare, member ofthe People=s Congress, Jakarta, 13 March 1967. Zacharias Sawor studied tropical agriculture in Deventer, the Netherlands, till 1962. He was treasurer ofParkindo, West Irian Section, from 1963 till 1965. He was in prison from August 1965 till August 1966. In June 1967 he fled to Australian New Guinea. Since October1968 he lives in the Netherlands. The book of Sawor, though written in Dutch, was forbidden by the Indonesian government.4Z. Sawor, 1969: 49, quoting a Report of the Command of the RegionalPolice XXL, West Irian, First Quarter 1966, by Drs. Soejoko, Chief ofStaff Secret Intelligence Service, Soekarnopoera, 26 June 1966. Thequotation is: AY ditembak mati dengan tjara yang tidak kentara oleh anggota2 dari daerah Indonesia sendiri. Hingga hal ini tidak dapatdimengertikan oleh pihak penduduk daerah Irian Barat sendiri.@ The way Obeth Badii in 1999 and Theys Eluay in 2001 were killed seem to befollow this policy See also Soemadi, 1974 (2nded) for a similar policy of preventiveelimination of key leaders by anti-guerrilla units (Soejadi, 1974 (2nded), Peranan KalimanatanBarat dalam menghadapi subversi komunis Asia Tenggara. Suatu tinjaman internasional terhadap geakan komunis dari sudut pertahanan wilayah khususnya KalimantanBarat, Yayasan Tanjungpura.5
  6. 6. (a) Provoking conflictsThis is what Papuans call the playing of Agames@ (pemain) by army or police. With thisthey mean that a particular killing has another purpose than just the elimination of aparticular person. Such a killing is meant to provoke a particular group to revenge. Thiswould then provide a justification for retaliation by the security apparatus. The strategy oftrying to provoke violence is seen at the way the army and police go about to stoppeaceful flag raising ceremonies. Though these were allowed by the president, Gus Dur,in December 1999 the army still considered it high treason, which would call for summaryextra judicial execution. In Wamena in October 2000 the army immediately began toshoot at Papuans gathered around the flag in prayer, though they had already acceptedthat their Morning Star flag should be lowered. The flag was torn, trampled upon andpeed upon. The hospital in Wamena was forbidden to treat Papuan patients with gunshot wounds. In this context it is also strange that no autopsy was conducted on thedead bodies of the victims. They were all dumped into a mass grave, and buried after ashort funeral service by Muslim and Christian religious leaders.(b) Creating divisionsThe intelligence of the army tried to turn the vertical conflict of the Papuans with theIndonesian central government into a horizontal conflict of migrants (Apendatang@ ) andoriginal inhabitants (Aorang asli@ ). The silent majority had to get activated. This meansmigrants had to get into conflict with Papuans after provocations by the army.The violent attack on the boarding houses of the students from the interior in December2000 can be seen as a strategy to divide the more radical students from the BaliemValley and Paniai from the more moderate activists at the coast. There were several fatalcasualties. One incident was witnessed, in horror, by the Swiss top journalist Oswald Itenin the prison of the regional police (Polres) in Jayapura. At the incident over 100 studentswere arrested and ill-treated. Religious differences are also used to create divisions andhorizontal conflicts. At a particular tense period a lecturer at the Theological College I. S.Kijne got an anonymous phone call that a church had been burnt down by Muslims. Theidea is to provoke retaliation and to set hatred between the religions as happened inAmbon and North Moluccas.A first year student of the Theological College I. S. Kijne, a pretty 21 year old girl ofMoluccan origin, was in broad daylight hacked to death by a student from theneighbouring state university Cenderawasih University or UNCEN. The perpetrator was aDani from the Baliem Valley. In shock and mourning the whole school of 700 studentssuspended all activities and went into mourning for a whole week. The body of the girlwas laid in state in the assembly hall of the school. While the mourning was going onunknown people entered the campus area and shouted AAllah Ho Akbar@ , Allah isgreat. A lady started shouting insults at one particular lecturer. At the final funeral servicethe provincial head of police intimated the students not to take revenge on a particularpopulation group (he meant the Dani) though there was nobody who had that in mind.We did not hear that the murderer was charged. The police said that he was a mentalcase. The perpetrator was, as far as we know, never brought to court, notwithstandingaction by the Legal Aid Department of the Synod of the GKI.There was in November 2001 a news item in the paper Cenderawasih Pos shortly beforethe killing of Theys Eluay, that a grandmother, who could speak only Buginese, had beenraped by a drunken youth at five o’clock in the morning in the main square of Jayapura.This was front page news for several days. It was clear that only a Papuan youth couldbe drunk at that time of the night. The Buginese dominate the markets and are known fortheir aggressiveness. There was a press conference at the police headquarters where6
  7. 7. the regional police commander mentioned that the underwear of the lady was materialevidence! This story was probably too absurd to be effective.The murder of Theys Eluay, leader of the Council of the Papua Presidium (PDP), thePapuan elected body to advance the political aspirations of the Papuans, is anotherpoint in case. Initially, without, however, giving any evidence, the national Head of Police(Kapolri) said that Theys was murdered by fellow Papuans because Theys had notrejected the government offer of regional autonomy. Later the Head of the Kopassus inJayapura confessed that one of his men was in the car with Theys Eluay questioning himon his position on autonomy and independence. He might have died because of a heartattack in the process. In the end after a lot of pressure also by internationalorganisations, the commander of Kopassus in Jayapura and a few of his men werebrought to a military court. They got fairly lenient sentences, and were released pendingappeal. The commander-in-chief of the Indonesian army protested against thesentences: these men were not murderers, but “heroes” defending the national unity ofIndonesian Republic.(c) Elimination of actual and potential leadersQuite a few leaders or potential leaders have been eliminated. We mentioned alreadyJohan Ariks, the religious leader, Arnold Ap, the musician and director of theAnthropology Museum at Uncen, the University of the Paradise Bird, Eduard Mofu,musician, Thomas Wanggai, the economist who studied in Japan and the US, and whodied in detention, Obeth Badii, who studied in the US, Rev. Robert Ongge fromKampung Harapan, who had studied in Java and who had served for years in acongregation in Jakarta, and Sam Kapisa, the artist, who died in a hotel room in Jakarta,shortly after coming back from a family visit in Holland. When I asked villagers inKampung Harapan why their minister, Robert Ongge, was killed they replied that theIndonesians do not like Papuans who rise to a higher level.In August 1999 the wife of a quite outstanding and well educated Papuan, a minister andlecturer at a theological college, who had studied abroad, died in the Naval Hospital inHamadi. She was 42 years old and had fainted after a fall at home. She died shortly afterbeen given an infuse though she looked quite healthy before. Immediately after beinggiven the infuse just after the husband had left the hospital to bring the children homethe lady’s face changed colour. When the husband on his return to the hospital wantedto know the cause of the sudden and unexpected death of his wife from the neurologistin charge of the treatment the man just walked away without giving any information.Our school lost in the middle of 2001 a very bright student, a girl of 21, who died half anhour after entering the hospital in Abepura with a complaint that she had taken too manychloroquin tablets, when suffering from malaria. She was drowsy, but not in coma as shereacted to questions by her aunt, who accompanied her to the hospital. She was givenan infuse, and died soon after that. The medical staff refused to discuss with the aunt thecause of death.(d) MilitiasMilitias have served their purpose in East Timor. These groups are less well trained andalso cheaper than the regular army. Though they are under the control of the army theycan do things the army can not do, as to the outside the fiction is kept that these groupsare an initiative of local people. In West Papua these militias were called Satgas Papua.Satgas is short for Satuan Tugas or ATaskforce@ . They were nominally under thecommand of Theys Eluay, who also served as their paymaster. Theys= bill was,however, paid by the leader of the Pemuda Pancasila, Yorrys Raweyai, who serves the7
  8. 8. interests of the Soeharto family. The idea of the Satgas Papua became so popular that itwas taken up by many Papuans all over the province. Satgas outside the Jayapura-Sentani area did not accept control by Theys Eluay. Generally speaking, apart fromsome incidents, there was more discipline than one would expect from such animprovised force. By the end of 2000 the army had the Satgas disbanded and declaredillegal. In 2001 we heard in Jayapura area of the infiltration by army personal posing asminibus drivers and as motor cycle taxi drivers (Ajoke@ ). Since the beginning of 2002the Lascar Jihad, with a record of anti Christian violence in Ambon, the North Moluccas,middle Sulawasi, were reportedly infiltrating into West Papua.(e) Particular campaignsThere are also specific campaigns to intimidate the population. In the 1960s there wasOperasi Sadar (Awareness Campaign) (Brigadier General. Kartijo), Operasi Bhratayudha(Brigadier General. R. R. Bintaro) and Operasi Wibawa (Authority Campaign) (BrigadierGeneral. Sarwo Edhie). In the 1970s Governor Acup Zainal introduced already “OperasiKoteka” (penis sheath, the traditional dress of Papuan men in the interior) which causedtens of thousands of victims in the Highlands. In 1977 General Imam Munander initiatedOperasi Kikis (Scraping Campaign) in the Baliem Valley. In the Mamberamo area and thearea of the North Coast of Jayapura Regency there was “Operasi Tumpas” and “OperasiSadar” (Annihilation Campaign and Awareness Campaign) in the 1980s. West Biaksuffered under Operasi Sapu Rata (A Clean Sweep Campaign), when the security forcestried to arrest Melkianus Awom, an OPM leader. In November 2000 the police began an“Operasi Tuntas Matoa”. (Total Matoa Campaign) Matoa stands for the sweet fruit onefinds in West Papua, which is a symbol for the province. In June 2001 police began aASweeping and Clampdown Operation@ in Manokwari, Fak-Fak and Nabire, areaswhere foreign companies are active. There were several casualties. The local humanrights organisation criticized police conduct and as a consequence got death threats byanonymous telephone callers. In August 2002 police started a campaign called AOperasiAdil Matoa@ , the AJust Matoa Campaign@ . The police commander I Made Pastikaannounced that he was using first the Apersuasive approach@ and then the Acoerciveapproach.@Papuan mortalityWe lived in Yoka Pantai, a Papua village on the shore of Lake Sentani, close by Waenaand Abepura. The village has 1,152 inhabitants, with 300 families (2001 figures). As welived next to the church and the church bells are being rung at each death in the village itwas not difficult to get an estimate of the number of deaths in a given period. I counted ina period of 3 months 8 deaths. This amounts to 32 deaths a year. Villagers told me thatthis was a reasonable estimate for annual mortality, though there were years it could beas high as sixty. 32 Deaths a year gives a mortality rate of over 28 per 1,000. A fewtypical cases in Yoka Pantai were as follows. A girl of four was playing on the street andwas overrun by a motor cycle that was speeding. She died. The case was reported to thepolice together with information about the perpetrator, who lives in a neighbouringtransmigration area. Though there were witnesses police rejected to take up the casebecause of Alack of evidence.@ The people in Yoka believe that the perpetrator is fromthe Kopassus and the police are afraid to take up the case.A neighbour, who has a drinking problem, beat his wife to death. The people in thevillage waited for the relatives of the wife from Sorong to claim damages. The case wasnot reported to the police. In the end nothing came from the claims of damages and thecrime went unpunished. People feel that there is no purpose in reporting such crimes tothe police, who purportedly only complicates the matter and start charging bribes fromthe family of the victim as well as of the perpetrator.8
  9. 9. A boy, 21 years old, a grandson of a well-known minister Rev. Okoka was beaten at thepolice office of Abepura for being drunk in public. He was then dropped by a police car athis parental home. The following morning his mother found him dead in his bed. Peoplein the village considered this “normal.” Such cases are usually also not taken up byElsham or Justice and Peace.Our school, the Theological College Izaak Samuel Kijne, has about 700 students in theage group 20 to 30. Half of them are women. The students are mainly in the age group25 to 30. In 2001 15 students died. This gives death rate of 21 out of 1,000 in a usuallyhealthy age group. Causes of death were: traffic accidents, violence in the family, policeviolence, murder, suicide and diseases such as TB, malaria, and stroke. Medical servicesare inadequate. Mortality in hospitals is so high that some Papuans sincerely believe thatthere are Kopassus officers in a white doctor= s coat who give injections or infuses tofinish off Papuans. If suspicious relatives want information from the doctor about thecause of death it is often refused, just as an autopsy.ConclusionThere are not many reliable reports about human rights violations in West Papua. In1992 the Evangelical Church composed the “Blue Book” (after the colour of the cover). Itsummarizes a considerable number of human rights violations in Biak and around Sarmi,Ormu and other places at the coast of Jayapura Regency. based on reports of ministersand church elders. The report was submitted to the PGI, the Indonesian Council ofChurches in preparation for its presentation at the General Assembly of the PGI to beheld in Jayapura in 1995. The Chairman of the PGI, Naboban, did not want to take upthe issue, considering it probably too dangerous. The Indonesian Government reactedstrongly against this report, and this type of reporting was not repeated until thecourageous report about human rights violations by the army in Timika by the Bishop ofJayapura, Herman Munninghoff in 1995. He managed to have his report endorsed by theNational Human Rights Commission (Komnasham) instituted by Soeharto. There is,notwithstanding the excellent work of Elsham Papua and the Justice and PeaceSecretariat, a considerable under reporting of serious human rights violations in WP.This is caused by the fact that Papuans are already so used to this that they accept it asone accepts natural disasters. Many Papuans in the interior do not even speakIndonesian. There is not really yet an idea of a concept like human and civil rights.Neither do Papuans outside the cities, generally speaking, have an idea that humanrights violations could be reported. This is just now changing. Moreover reporting humanrights violations implicating police or army is a very risky business as witnesses arethreatened or even eliminated. Even church authorities and employees of Elsham havethis experience. The new freedom for NGOs with the fall of Soeharto in 1998 is well usedby Elsham Papua, the Justice and Peace Secretariat of the Jayapura Diocese and theLegal and Human Rights Department of the Evangelical Christian Church for to publicizehuman rights violations and also to give training courses to village people in humanrights.West Papua is still not completely open for journalists. Journalists, at times, areintimidated and threatened, being accused of “misuse of their entry visa”. This offence,as is said, carries a fairly long prison sentence. Oswald Iten from the Neue ZürcherZeitung was a witness of the arrest and torture to death of two young Papua students atthe police office of Jayapura Regency (Polres) in December 2000. Iten was imprisonedand threatened because he was a journalist. Apart from a correspondent of the SydneyMorning Herald there are no foreign correspondents in WP. Much of the reporting isdone by Antara, the government controlled press agency. The local journalists are notwell trained and do not have a tradition of investigative journalism. It is rumoured that the9
  10. 10. main local paper, the Cenderawasih Pos, part of the Jawa Pos Company, is controlled bythe army. This would explain why much of the news is about appointments and otherevents in the army. Almost daily the picture of a general of the army or the policedecorates the front page. There is only one province wide radio station and one TVstation. These are government controlled. Moreover there is a climate of fear whichprevents reporting of human rights. Only Elsham Papua and the Catholic Justice andPeace Secretariat do this on a regular and systematic basis. Both organisations areunderstaffed and can not be complete in their reporting.NGOs and churches are prosecuted for defamation (fitnah), a crime under Indonesianlaw if they dare to criticize the security apparatus or when they protest against particularhuman rights violations.The mentality of police and army and their attitude towards the Papuans as occasionallyexpressed in public statements is conducive for massive human rights violations.Papuans are animals, criminals, or pigs who copulate with pigs. These are the insultspolice and army hurls at Papuans, who are arrested. Also the apparent impunity of theperpetrators does not help to publicize complaints. The case of the killings of severalstudents and the torture of about 100 of them in December 2000 in Abepura has beentaken up by the National Commission of Human Rights (Komnasham) as it falls withinthe bounds of the new law to prevent human rights violations. Up to now this has,however, not led to a prosecution of the perpetrators.When one analyses closely the context in which human rights violations take place thenone has to conclude that it is possible that very serious human rights violations are takingplace in an organized and systematic way. There hardly seem to be any restraints onindividual or collective misconduct of members of the security apparatus in West Papuawith regard to the Papuans. Perpetrators who are member of the security apparatusenjoy impunity. The situation calls for a thorough international investigation under theauspices of the United Nations as the UN still has some responsibility since the UNTEAperiod (October 1962-May 1963) and the UN supervised Act of Free Choice (14 July - 2August 1969).BibliographyIrian Jaya. Menjelang 30 Tahun Kembali ke Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia. UntukKeadilan dan Perdamaian (Suatu Pertanggung Jawaban Sejarah). Laporan DisampaikanKepada MPH-PGI dari GKI di Irian Jaya, April 1992Sawor, Zacharias, 1969. Ik ben een Papua, Een getuigeverslag van de toestanden inWestelijk Nieuw Guinea sinds de gezagsoverdracht op 1 October 1962, Groningen: DeVuurbaakVan den Broek OFM, Theo and J. Budi Hemawan OFM, 2001. Memoria Passionis diPapua. Kondisi Hak Asasi Manusia Gambaran 1999, Jakarta: LSPP/SKP;Van den Broek OFM, Theo e.a., 2001. Memoria Passionis di Papua. Kondisi Hak AssisManusia Gambaran 2000, Jakarta: LSPP/SKP10